The 10th annual Sharing the Coast Conference, a cornucopia of information about coastal science, natural history, shoreline monitoring, and environmental stewardship, is on the horizon. The 2019 edition takes place March 8-10 at the Hatfield Marine Science Center (2030 S.E. Marine Science Drive) in the South Beach area of Newport.
Register here: https://tinyurl.com/https-SharingtheCoast2019.
As in past years, Sharing the Coast is a joint effort by the CoastWatch program of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition and the Northwest Aquatic and Marine Educators (NAME). The event is open to the public, and the activities on the schedule, including lectures, field trips, workshops, and a Saturday evening party, would be of interest to anyone fascinated by coastal natural history and wishing to learn more about how to protect shoreline resources.
The conference is also designed as a way to learn more about monitoring the shore as a CoastWatch volunteer, participating in citizen science projects, and educating others about the shoreline and marine environment, whether as a teacher or field interpreter.
The conference kicks off Friday evening, May 8, 7 p.m., with a “Community Talk” (a Sharing the Coast tradition) that is free and open to the public. Veteran marine educator and ecotour leader Marty Giles will speak on the most basic of shoreline subjects, “All About Sand.” She will take the audience on a virtual tour of our sandy shores, explaining where sand comes from, what it does while it is on the beach or dune, what lives within it, and where it goes.
Saturday’s full day begins at 9 a.m. (doors open at 8:30). Speakers include:
· Marine ecologist Cynthia Trowbridge, on “The Ecology of the Driftline,” exploring all the natural materials that wash up on shore and what they tell us about marine life;
· Renowned rocky shore ecologist Bruce Menge, speaking on rocky shore ecology, climate change, and the fate of sea stars;
· * Environmental scientist Dorothy Horn, discussing plastics in the ocean (and especially “microplastics”) and how they affect our coast;
· * Avian researcher Jessica Porquez, on Oregon’s seabird populations and the research being conducted on them, helping to explain the lives and origins of the beached birds we find on shore;
· *Behavioral ecologist Catherine de Rivera, on invasive species of the estuaries and how to watch for them on the outer shore;
· * Jim Rice, head of the Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network, on the marine mammals and sea turtles that wash up on our shores, and how to report on them;
· *A panel discussion on citizen science
NAME is organizing a parallel set of activities aimed at educators, with presentations on such topics as making art from plastic debris, edible seaweeds, and making marine science relevant to learners.
On Saturday evening, the conference’s after-party will be combined with a wrap-up party for the recently concluded King Tide Project, through which volunteer photographers document the reach of the winter’s highest tides. Both conference-goers and other interested members of the public will gather at the Rogue Brewer’s on the Bay brewery in South Beach beginning at 5:30 p.m. for food and drink, a display of photos providing a virtual tour of the Coquille River Valley during a king tide by photographer Rena Olson, and a talk on how sea level rise is affecting our coast by Meg Reed, Coastal Shores Specialist with the state’s Department of Land Conservation and Development. This event is free and open to all.
Sunday, March 10, will be given over to field trips. An estuary walk guided by marine educator Athena Crichton will leave from the HMSC Visitor Center at 10 a.m. Also at 10 a.m., Fawn Custer, CoastWatch’s volunteer coordinator, will lead a field trip to the shoreline, during which she will discuss CoastWatch monitoring and citizen science projects, at Otter Rock Marine Reserve (just north of the community of Otter Rock).
For more details about the conference or the CoastWatch program, see the website, https://oregonshores.org/coastwatch.
Conference fees vary, depending on membership in Oregon Shores, CoastWatch, NAME, or general public, with student and other categories as well. To register online, go to https://tinyurl.com/https-SharingtheCoast2019. You can also register on the day of the conference—plenty of room for all.